Thursday, March 10, 2011

wiggle worm

Kaden has been a wiggly one since before he was born. When I was pregnant with him I felt like he was moving all of the time! When I went in to the Dr. during my third trimester checkups he would tell me to do a "kick count". I should feel at least 10 movements every 2 hours after eating. Are you kidding me? There was no need for kick count. This boy gave me 10 movements every 2 minutes all. day. long.

When he was born he had muscly little legs that just kicked and kicked. He tried lifting his head, arching his back. He always wanted to be looking around. He was such a happy little guy and always on the move.

Fast forward 4 years and he's as wiggly as ever. This boy never stops. He is going from the minute he wakes up in the morning until nap time. After about an hour he is up for round 2. He is so entertaining and fun but can be absolutely exhausting. At the dinner table he is this way and that way, up, down and all over. It takes him forever to finish his food. I am constantly telling him to sit down, put his feet down, face forward, scoot his chair up, etc.

Right now we are going through a phase. At least I hope it's only a phase. I feel like this boy is never listening to me. I tell him things and ask him things over and over and it's like he is in some other world. I try to get him to look at me when I am talking but his eyes are wandering and he just can't hold still for even a second. I feel like he is getting in trouble for the same things over and over. Some days I feel like I have been on him about one thing or another every minute of the day. I don't think he intends to be naughty or to ignore me. He is just so busy.

I'm perplexed and unsure of what to do. His preschool teachers absolutely adore him and say he is one of their favorite kids, but they are having the same problems. They say he is bright, sweet, wants to please, and is a happy and good boy. But, it takes him 5 minutes to cut out a simple shape because he has to be constantly reminded to sit, focus, and cut. It's weird, because at home we can sit and read story after story and he is totally engrossed. He will sit at the counter and play with playdoh for hours. He will play quietly on the floor with a puzzle or train for hours. So it's not like he can't be still. I guess it just is under his terms. I've been a little worried about the possibility of ADHD, but his teachers don't think it should be a concern.

He is in a very selfish stage. He wants what he wants and doesn't seem to care if it will affect someone else, or if he's been told no. He will cut in line, take a toy away from someone, eat a piece of candy I told him he couldn't have, etc. When I talk to him about it the only thing he can say is "but I wanted..."

I love the fact that he is energetic and enthusiastic. I love that he is happy and excitable. I love that he is strong and agile and loves to be active. I love his exuberant spirit. I want him to be able to wiggle and run and jump around. I want him to stay just the way he is. I just want him to learn that there is an appropriate time to be a crazy man and there is a time to be still. Sometimes you get what you want, and sometimes you don't. I want him to learn that he has to be respectful of other people. He needs to listen to his parents and teachers. He needs to listen to his peers and hear their wants and needs too.

I have a few ideas but really am just at a loss. He's and active 4-year-old boy. It's hard to know what is just a normal behavior and what needs reprimanding and refocusing. I'm trying to have more quiet moments with something structured to focus on for short periods of time. We are doing a marble jar that seems to help. He earns and loses marbles and when the jar is full he gets a special toy or outing. He thrives on positive reinforcement. It breaks his heart when he gets in trouble or sees that he has disappointed someone. I know he wants to be good, it's just figuring out how to get him to focus, listen, and do what is asked, even if it isn't something he wants.

ANY suggestions? please?!


Lolee said...

Ohhh...I am dying to give you all of my advice! But, the first thing they tell you is that, as a therapist, you should never give advice.

I have worked with now hundreds of kids with ADHD. I have diagnosed hundreds with ADHD. While there are commonalities I see in most of the cases, each child is unique.

The few tips I have picked up that seem effective in a lot (but not all cases) are the following:

1. most kids have a "currency". Find out what his is, and utilize it. (this is not a bribe or punishment, but a motivator- like the marbles)

2. Kids learn experientially. You can lecture or talk to a kid for hours and it doesn't always register. Give them a new experience and it can change how they see the world in seconds.

3. Don't feel like this is something you have to tackle alone. Bring in everyone that cares about Kaden and get them on the same page. Children really respond to consistency. It should be the same rules at your house, Grandma's house, school, etc.

I hope this helps. It might be totally worthless. You are really the expert on your son and your intuition about him is the most powerful tool you have:)

Cari said...

We've got wiggly toddlers here at our house! Those Wood genes, maybe?! :) but I just wanted to say that you're doing such a great job as a wife and mom! I think you're right, its a phase he's going through... And he's learning SO many new... things, that his brain is just filtering out right from wrong. It sounds like you've got some great solutions! And consistency is probably the most important thing, even though some days its the hardest! :)
We have had really good success with sticker charts, and lists... A list of the major rules makes it easier for my kids to follow, and then they don't think I'm always just nagging- its a part of our rules.
I love the marble jar idea! Its nice to hear your ideas, and to feel like I'm not the only mom who is repeating myself over and over before anyone listens or obeys!!!! :)

Ashley Henry Photography said...

Oh sweet little Kaden. Such a good boy. It is just a phase! I'm sure he is learning and going to be just fine. But I KNOW that as a parent, that doesn't provide much comfort when you are exhausted, frustrated, and at your wits end! A few friends recommended the book, Parenting with Love and Logic, and I have to say that I have just LOVED it!! It has really changed out lives. Not that we've been able to adopt all the principles perfectly, in fact, I'm probably still just as imperfect as ever of a parent, but it helped us so much to have ideas and solutions with REAL results. I don't know if what they talk about will apply for everything you are going through, but for a lot of parenting issues, they have really great advice. And what I love the most is their perfect balance of firmness, control and limits, with love, patience, understanding and gentleness. Give it a try!

gin said...

I think everyone before me said it best!
YOU are doing a wonderful job as a mama, first of all.
Second of all, I have no experience with four year olds, teacher wise of mommy wise. So, I will tell you to keep doing what you're doing.
I will say that I was like Kaden when I was little and everyone told me my mom to put me on meds...and she refused. I eventually (it took a couple of years) calmed down and quit wiggling so much. :)

Tara said...

Last night at Bible study we were talking about how boys/men were created differently. They were designed to be a little wild and to be the protectors. Someone mentioned the book Tender Warrior. I haven't read it, but they said it helped them with their boys :)

Cecilia said...

I don't really like the idea of giving parenting advice, because like others have said, you're the mom and you know Kaden best. But I will say that my son sounds SO MUCH like Kaden and I can only guess what motivates them. As for the focus, I think when they are not interested in something, or something else seems more interesting, they don't want to do it (I have many examples of similar to your shape cutting one). And from what you described of his focus, and from what I've researched on ADHD in school, he's fine. You would only need to worry if he couldn't focus on anything. As for listening and being selfish, kids are naturally egocentric at this age and have to learn to do things they don't want to do like sharing and following parental demands.
I don't know if you're familiar with Jean Piaget, but I would recommend checking out some of his studies on child development--specially cognitive development--to perhaps get a better insight into how kids think. Check out YouTube for demonstrations.